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[–]wizzwizz4 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (6 children)

Plastics either.

Oh, no, plastics will unless deliberately burnt, and it'd take most of our species's resources to go out and find all the plastic and get rid of it in a lifetime. The rest of your points are good, though.

Your point about the Ice Age glaciers is especially good, too. Given this new information, I can update my estimate (after looking up the Bayesian formula and how to use it, because stupid old me hasn't memorised that yet) Bayes' Theorem is not useful here.

I've upped my 0.1% to 2%; 1 in 50 chance that the vast, vast majority of the evidence was either wiped out, buried by subduction, dismantled by other humans or otherwise rendered unreachable to us. Because your "human destruction" and "glacier" hypotheses are things that I hadn't thought of, and taking that into account makes it conceivable that such a thing might've happened in a hypothetical world (glaciers trashed loads and loads of evidence, and humans who didn't like it cleaned up the rest, so the hypothetical civilisation wouldn't have to have been so unsimilar to my expectations of how humans behave).

That makes 0.000018714%. It's still not really worth considering.

[–]wendolynne 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (5 children)

Once you abandon the "young Earth" mindset, you can look at certain things in a different light. Egypt has some artifacts created with technology at our level or better.

[–]wizzwizz4 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (4 children)

I've taken that into account. They didn't really require more technology; it was more about more effort going into making the things. We couldn't create those artefacts with our current level of technology quickly enough for us to not get bored.

[–]wendolynne 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (3 children)

So, the attributes of an advanced civilization: plastic technology and a short attention span.
The word 'plastic' means changeable, by the way. Our plastic technology is approximately 100 years old. plastics deform easily - relatively low heat deforms them. grease reacts with tupperware. Hard plastics are brittle, shatter easily. If an ancient civilization had invented DVDs, and Medieval people found one, would they have any idea how to read it?

[–]wizzwizz4 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (2 children)

The word 'plastic' means changeable, by the way.

Ok. Hydrocarbon-based polymers.

If an ancient civilisation had invented DVDs, and Medieval people found one, would they have any idea how to read it?

No, but they'd probably cotton on pretty quickly that it was made of something they didn't recognise. Then they'd probably give it to children to play with as a Frisbee, or just discard it, or possibly keep it as a trinket for a few years.

Where are you going with this?

[–]wendolynne 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

Perhaps something similar has been discovered, and we have no idea what it really is.

[–]wizzwizz4 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

and we have no idea what it really is.

It's likely that someone nowadays would post it on the web, and people would share it if it was strange.